• 3 lbs chicken legs and thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 2 tsps salt, plus more to taste
  • 7 tsps black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 12 oz. beer
  • 1 lb new potatoes
  • 1 qt vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsps sliced garlic
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 2 tsps fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns, roughly chopped
  • 1 star anise, left whole
  • 2 dried chiles, minced
  • 1.5 tbsps hot bean sauce
  • 2 tbsps shaosing wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsps sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • cilantro, for garnish


1. Preparation: With a cleaver, chop the chicken into 2-inch pieces, and toss with 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper. (Use chicken scraps to make stock if you can.) Cover with the beer and marinate it in the refrigerator overnight or for at least a few hours. Cook the potatoes in salted water until nearly done; drain; cut into bite-size pieces if necessary.
2. Heat at least 2 inches of the oil in a wok or tall, narrow pot over high heat. The more oil you use, the more chicken you can cook at one time.
3. When the oil is hot, fry the chicken, in batches if necessary, until slightly brown; depending on your heat, this could take 1 to 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and let rest until cool, then fry again — up to 5 minutes depending on your heat — until nicely browned and crisp; remove. If you have the time, refrigerate the chicken before proceeding.
4. Reduce the oil to about 2 tablespoons (reserve the rest for frying or other uses), and turn the heat to high. Add the garlic, and cook a few seconds, then add another tablespoon of oil.
5. Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, anise and dried chiles, and stir to combine. Add the hot bean sauce, and stir; return the chicken to the wok or skillet.
6. Stir in the dark rice wine and 2 cups stock or water, and stir to create a sauce. Add 1 tablespoon black pepper, the sugar and soy sauce; bring to a vigorous boil.
7. Add the potatoes, and continue to boil for another 10 to 15 minutes, adding more liquid as needed to keep the mixture soupy; you want to wind up with 1 to 2 cups sauce and tender potatoes. Taste, and adjust seasoning; add more black pepper if the taste isn’t strong.
8. Ladle the chicken, potatoes and broth into bowls. Garnish with cilantro and serve with noodles or rice.


Chicken, Chicken & Poultry, Chinese




Mark Bittman


4 servings


Asian : East Asian : Mongolian




- Wok